Today’s educational environment is heavily focused on accountability, standards and assessment. At the same time, industry is seeking assurances that job seekers have the skills required to fill their openings. At the local, state and federal levels, CTE programs are being tasked with providing students with credentials and certifications which are recognized and valued by our business and industry partners. Having a strong connection to industry, career and technical education has long understood the importance of industry recognized credential and certifications.
Brevard Strategic Plan
The BPS strategic plan includes the Outcome Indicator 1.3.2: By 2013, ninety percent (90%) of high school graduates completing a Career and Technical Education (CTE) program of study, who participate in the approved industry certification assessment, will achieve a passing score on the assessment. The CTE department has identified student industry credentials that meet the rigorous course requirements and this outcome indicator.
BPS Graduation Requirement
To ensure that every BPS graduate is postsecondary and/or workforce ready, student are required to complete a program of study which includes a minimum of 3 credits in one of the following areas:
- Approved dual enrollment, AP, IB, AICE or approved Honors Courses
- Sequential CTE program of study resulting in a credential endorsed by a national, state or local industry
State Requirement – CAPE ACT Academies
At the state level, Florida Statutes require that career and professional academies be coordinated with the appropriate industry indicating that all components of the program are relevant and appropriate to prepare the student for further education and for employment in that industry. Florida Statutes further define that the State Board of Education together with the Workforce Florida, Inc. will develop and adopt rules for implementing an industry certification process, based upon the highest available national standards for specific industry certification, to ensure student skill proficiency and to address emerging labor market and industry trends. As of July 1, 2012 Florida State HB 7059-04, Challenging Curriculum to Enhance Learning (ACCEL) includes career themed courses in addition to career academies that lead to an industry certification on the Industry Certification Funding List. Students may achieve up to 0.3 points towards bonus funding in which they received the appropriate industry certification of a program. Each district must allocate at least 80 percent of the funds provided for industry certification to the program that generated the funds. http://flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2012/7059/BillText/er/PDF
State Requirement – High School Grade and Diploma Designations
Starting with SY 2009-10, Florida Statutes required a portion of the high school grade be determined by students’ participation and performance in industry certifications, along with AP, IB, AICE and dual enrollment. Florida Statutes further expand the requirements for CTE industry certification by including student attainment of CTE industry certifications as one of the three Standard High School Diploma Designations.
At the federal level, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act was reauthorized in 2006 and required student attainment of career and technical skill proficiencies, including student achievement on technical assessments that are aligned with industry-recognized standards. They are designed to measure the extent CTE concentrators (3 credits in the same CTE program) are leaving high school with validated technical skills. The Florida DOE approves the Technical Skill Attainment List using the following criteria: requires a minimum of 150 hours instruction, is occupationally specific, is a State or federally regulated professional license, and the certifying agency is accredited.
In response to the federal requirements, future district Perkins Act federal funding to BPS includes performance measures, targets and potential sanctions regarding Technical Skill Attainment for program concentrators. The SY 2012-11 targets for BPS, set by the Florida DOE, is 97.1%.
In Addition to the local, state and federal requirements for student industry certification, teachers and administrators can use assessment results to learn about student’s skills as well as learn about the effectiveness of instruction and then apply that to instructional improvements. Assessment can be one of the most effective tools for increasing student achievement. By using assessment data for instructional purposes, teachers can improve program curriculum, identify instructional needs and maintain a continuous improvement process.
Focused on the new vision of Career and Technical Education, assessments are to be utilized for CTE students as they participate and/or complete their technical program of study. Assessments, while required at the federal, state and district levels, measure student understanding of both the knowledge and skills that are the foundation of the CTE program.
It is imperative that teachers and administrators maintain a positive perception of the value of technical skill attainment. Not only does it meet new local, state and federal requirements for CTE programs, assessments can provide a continuous improvement model for CTE instruction. Industry certifications can also provide business and industry with the assurance that CTE concentrators have the skills required to fill their openings; a win-win situation for all.